DURHAM: Lovette found not guilty in Duke student's death - WHLT 22 Connecting the Pine Belt

Lovette found not guilty in Duke student's death

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DURHAM, N.C. -

A man convicted of killed UNC student body president Eve Carson was acquitted Wednesday in the murder of a Duke graduate student in 2008.

A jury unanimously found Laurence Lovette not guilty of first-degree murder in the January 2008 death of Abhijit Mahato. The jury also found Lovette not guilty of robbery with a firearm.

In closing arguments on Monday, Lovette's lawyers claimed the state did not present sufficient evidence to prove he committed the murder of Mahato.

"We both thanked God. That's what he said, 'We praise God,' " defense attorney Karen Bethea-Shields said after Superior Court Judge Jim Hardin read the verdict.

Prosecutors said the case case is still under investigation, but they were disappointed by Thursday's verdict.

"Of course we're disappointed; but it was a difficult, circumstantial case," prosecutor Stormy Ellis said.

Stephen Lavance Oates, 24, had also been charged in the shooting death of Mahato, but those charges were dropped. Oates was charged with assault with deadly weapon with intent to kill and one count each of robbery and obtaining property by false pretense from other robberies.

Lovette is currently serving a life sentence for the March 2008 death of Carson.

Lovette's attorney stopped short of saying they plan to pursue an appeal in the Carson case, saying they will talk with the appellate attorney about it.

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Justin Quesinberry

Justin is a reporter for WNCN and a North Carolina native. He has spent the better part of the last decade covering the news in central North Carolina.  More>>

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